Frozen Pipes


Oh no!  The pipes froze!  Now what?  How can frozen pipes be prevented in the future? Wrapping the pipes or heating the pipes are the two most common ways to prevent frozen pipes.

  • Wrap ’em up.  Wrapping the pipes in an insulating material can keep them from freezing and possibly bursting.  Pipe insulation material is available at almost any hardware store or local home improvement retailer.  Yes, the problem is that common.  Frozen pipes are such a common problem in fact, that pipe insulation is even found at the local big box retailer such as Wal-Mart or K-Mart.
  • Heat ’em up.  Many home improvement retailers offer pipe warming systems.  They basically consist of a heating cable that can be attached to the pipe so that it heats the pipe and prevents it from freezing.  Here’s a little bit of not so useless knowledge.  Did you know that hot water pipes will freeze before cold water pipes?  How weird is that?

Why should you go to all the effort of insulating your pipes or running heating cable along them?  What’s the worst that could possibly happen if frozen pipes occur?  Well, it can get pretty bad.

  • Not having any water at all could be the best case scenario.  Suppose you wake up in the morning and go to brush your teeth but alas, no water comes out of the faucet.  Believe it or not that’s the best thing that can come out of frozen pipes.  It’s hard to believe that you should be happy if that happens.
  • A huge, expensive mess could be the worst case scenario.  The pipes froze, then they burst, sending water spewing everywhere destroying flooring, furniture, and any electronics that had the misfortune of being in the vicinity.  Your day just went from bad to awful.  Now you’ve got to call off of work to take care of this mess and call a emergency plumber to come out to fix the broken pipes. What makes matters even worse is not only that there is a mess to clean up but a plumbing contractor will need to come to repair the damaged and broken pipes. Most pipes are tucked away behind walls so you should expect the plumber to need to cut away portions of your walls or ceilings to access the the broken pipes. So expensive mess is easily an understatement when you figure in the plumber, carpenter (to repair walls and ceilings), damage home furnishings and the clean up!

Frozen pipes can turn into a nightmare situation in a hurry.  Insulation is your friend.  Take precautions to protect your investments and insulate your pipes before it’s to late.  When it comes to pipe insulation, an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure.